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Policy approaches banning skilled labour to Gulf States not succeeding – Research

Accra, Aug. 22, GNA – Policy approaches banning domestic workers to the Gulf States has not succeeded in stopping that trend of migration says a research finding conducted by Migrating out of Poverty (MOOP).

It said despite such bans, people still do migrate, making it more risky, more expensive as many more smugglers and brokers are involved.
Prof Priya Deshingkar, Programme Director of MOOP, speaking at the ongoing MOOP West Africa Regional workshop in Accra, said the situation was rather having an opposite effect.

She said another disturbing scenario was criminalising the brokers, which has in turn, forced them to go under the ground and become clandestine.
The MOOP, a Research Consortium, is a 10-year research project looking at the relationship between migration and poverty with a focus on reducing the negative aspects of migration and enhancing the positive sides as well.
The project is being funded by DfiD while the University of Sussex, United Kingdom is coordinating institution.
The Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana, Legon is an implementing institution in Ghana.
Participants are from MOOP implementation countries including Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and United Kingdom participating in the capacity as sponsors of the project.
The three-day workshop was to enable Ghana and Senegal to share their research findings and policy statements.
The other implementing countries have already done their dissemination but since the project is ending in September this year, the workshop also served as an end of project and validation programme.
Prof Denshingkar said opportunities to migrate legally to developed countries, especially in European Union countries are tight leading to illegal migration.
“Governments of International EU countries are trying to control migration and at the same time they are tightening controls on migration so it does not work,” she said.
She said “if you want people to migrate legally then you must open more opportunities for people to migrate legally”.
She said MOOP research findings highlights on those kind of issues and informing policy debates and commended the CMS team for their contributions in policy making.
Prof Mariama Awumbila, the Coordinator of MOOP Consortium Ghana, said they believe that though migration could be negative to originating communities, there are lots of potentials in the sector which if managed properly could enhance the development agenda of the sending countries.
She said the CMS in its quest to assist the country to develop potentials in the migration sector facilitated in formulating the Ghana Migration Policy, which is yet to be implemented.
“We are also part of the group working on the Ghana Labour Policy and the Ghana Diasporan Policy and our research policies are fed into these three policies,” she said.
Prof Awumbila expressed the hope to continue to use their research findings to feed into other national policies and strategies to facilitate development.
She urged government to revisit the issue of the ban on skilled workers moving to the Gulf States and see how to restructure migration to maximise national development and minimise the exploitations that accompany illegal migration.
She said other countries have entered into bilateral agreements with the Gulf States and though exploitation is there, based on such agreements, it is minimal.
“That is why we are recommending to government to look at it that way for economic benefits for both the country and the migrants.
Prof Joseph Teye, Director of CMS and Member of MOOP Research Team, presenting on “Changing Patterns of Migration and Remittances in rural Ghana”, said annual real cash remittance received by migrants’ households have significantly increased between 2015 to 2018.
This, he said, re-emphasises the fact that migration sector remains an untapped potential resource for sending countries.
He said migration from rural areas should not be always portrayed as detrimental to the welfare of origin households, as many migrants are contributing to poverty reduction and socio-economic development in their areas of origin.

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